Tag: digital content

Mermaids Go All Out for Train Concert!

Train is sharing the spotlight with Gavin DeGraw and The Script this summer on their “Mermaids of Alcatraz” tour. The chart-topping performers of “Hey, Soul Sister” and “Drops of Jupiter” are no stranger to sharing the stage, touring with Mat Kearney & Andy Grammar in 2012 and Maroon 5 & Gavin DeGraw in 2011.

Train performing at Verizon Wireless Ampitheater in Charlotte, NC on July 30, 2013.

The tour stopped in Charlotte, NC at Verizon Wireless Ampitheater on July 30th, greeting a crowd of new and longtime fans, with the most hardcore Train enthusiasts dressed as Mermaids!

Gavin DeGraw opened up the show for his second tour with Train, but first with them as the headliner. He thrilled the crowd, performing songs that made him popular like “I Don’t Wanna Be,” and newer releases like “Best I Ever Had.” He even covered Justin Timberlake’s smash hit of the summer, “Mirrors,” doing an excellent job taking the smooth R&B and matching it to his signature slow rock style. Here’s the full setlist from DeGraw’s portion of the show:


Dublin-based band The Script took the stage next, pumping up the crowd with their most popular songs like “Breakeven” and “Hall of Fame.” They also performed a beautiful rendition of “If You Could See Me Now,” a song Danny O’Donoghue wrote about the coping with the passing of his father1. Here is the full setlist from The Script’s portion of the show:


Headlining band Train took the stage next, opening with 2003 smash hit “Calling All Angels.” They performed songs from their new album “California 37” and their 2009 hit album “Save Me, Sanfrancisco,” as well as some covers, including “Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis and “All You Need is Love” by the Beatles. One of the biggest hits of the night, however, came from the second encore song. Released 12 years ago, “Drops of Jupiter” continues to be a crowd favorite.

Fans were in for a big surprise when Ashley Monroe took the stage. Monroe is a country singer and Nashville native, touring with the band to perform their duet song “Bruises.” Another big surprise happened at the Charlotte show: when Pat Monahan, lead vocalist, walked through the crowd of cheering fans while singing sentimental wedding dance favorite “Marry Me,” he stopped at one particular fan and announced, “My man here has a big surprise.” The fan turned to his girlfriend and popped the question while Monahan continued his serenade. Don’t worry…she said yes!

Here is the full setlist from Train’s portion of the show:


If the Mermaids of Alcatraz Tour is coming to a venue near you, check it out! In the mean time, download your favorites from their setlists to get ready for the show.


  1. [http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2183834/The-man-moved-tears-Danny-O-Donoghue-pours-heart-The-Script-s-tragic-losses-went-The-Voice-s-ex.html]

No Playing Around: Trends in the Computer and Video Game Industry

Today’s blog post was written by our summer intern, Wassa Suttiwiriya. Wassa is an Economics and Math student at the University of Southern California. 

With the growth of the computer and video game industry, it is no surprise that the sector’s consumer base has diversified and expanded to a great extent. Who are the key players of computer and video games? What types of games do they want? The 2013 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry, authored by the Entertainment Software Association, reveals statistics on consumer demographics and trends.


Gamer demographics:

  • Almost 60% of Americans play video games
  • The average age of game players is 30
  • More than half (55%) of game players are female, and women 18 or older represent a significantly greater portion of the game-playing population (31%) than boys age 17 or younger (19%).


The best- selling video games are action, shooter, and sport games, and the best-selling computer games are role-playing, casual, and strategy games. Gamers say the top reasons they purchase a game are the quality of the graphics, an interesting storyline, a sequel to a favourite game, and word of mouth.


Digital trends:

  • The average U.S. household owns at least one dedicated game console, PC, or smartphone
  • Gamers are increasingly playing on-the-go with 36% playing on their smartphone and 25% playing on their wireless device
  • Sales in the digital format have increased from 20% to 40% since 2009, while those in physical format have declined respectively


The 2013 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry is the most in-depth and targeted survey of its kind, gathering data from more than 2,000 nationally representative households.


Book Review: “Dad is Fat” by Jim Gaffigan

As a huge fan of comedian Jim Gaffigan, I was really looking forward to the release of his first book, Dad is Fat. Gaffigan details the joys and perils of raising his five (yes, FIVE) children, or as he describes them: beautiful, pale creatures.

Gaffigan’s children at the time of book print range in age from infant to 8-years-old. The title for his book, Dad is Fat, originated from a sentence scrawled in messy, childish handwriting on a miniature whiteboard by one of his sons: “Dad is fat.” A keen observation from one of the pale creatures. Anyone who has had the distinct pleasure of listening to or watching Gaffigan’s standup routine is probably familiar with his affinity for Cinnabon, cake, pie, bacon, and food in general.

One of Gaffigan’s trademarks as a comedian is the ability to laugh at himself, breaking the fourth wall by using a higher-pitched voice to simulate an audience member’s thoughts. “He’s a pale fella!” Gaffigan opens his book using italicized text to emulate that tactic, increasing his likability by poking fun at himself. “He doesn’t even seem like he’s read a book before! Well, maybe a cookbook.”

The book goes on to detail the trials and triumphs of raising 5 small children in a 2-bedroom New York City apartment with his wife, Jeanie. While Gaffigan makes fun of his parenting ability – “He has virtually no training, skills or instincts on how to play this role,” he says of himself – the stories shared make it clear that Gaffigan is indeed an excellent father, and Jeanie is a phenomenal mother. Their children, Marre (8), Jack (6), Katie (3), Michael (1), and Patrick (newborn), keep mom and dad on their toes. As Gaffigan puts it, “failing and laughing at your own shortcomings are the hallmarks of a sane parent.”

If you’re interested in a funny, light read, I highly recommend Dad is Fat. Fans of Gaffigan’s standup will be interested to read backstories behind some of his popular bits, such as his explanation of why he and Jeanie chose home birth – “just to make you uncomfortable.” Readers new to Gaffigan’s work will likely catch the bug – check out his standup too! Follow Jim (@jimgaffigan) and Jeannie (@jeanniegaffigan) on Twitter. Follow us too (@thefirstclubcom) and let us know what you think of the book!

Download an eBook version of Dad is Fat from thefirstclub.com

Download standup albums Mr. Universe, King Baby, and Doin’ My Time from thefirstclub.com

Priority Club Rewards adds Digital Rewards

InterContinental Hotels Group is to offer its 65 million Priority Club Rewards members a new way to redeem Priority Club points: Digital Rewards. From the first club™, a global provider of instant digital rewards, Digital Rewards is designed to provide members with the latest in downloadable content including music, games, and software. According to a Mintel survey, members are motivated by loyalty programmes that provide instant and easy ways to redeem.

The Digital Rewards offers have been integrated with Priority Club’s existing point redemption choices. Examples of the new offers include well known songs from popular artists across genres including pop, country, alternative rock, R&B, and oldies, starting at 300 points. Popular games such as sports, action/adventure and puzzles are available from 800 points. Software for members’ home offices, foreign language education and multimedia tools are also available, starting at some 1,100 points.

Original Document from The Wise Marketer.

IHG Adds Instant Rewards to Encourage “Light User” Loyalty

For the average consumer who travels a couple of times a year, at best, earning enough points as a hotel loyal member to redeem for a free night’s stay, car rental or another high-point reward can seem almost an impossible task. One hotel, IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group), has debuted a new redemption category that it hopes will encourage new members and light users to see value in its loyalty program and stay dedicated to the brand.

The category—digital, instant rewards—is a shift toward value during a time of economic uncertainty that has greatly affected hotel loyalty programs. With approximately $16 billion dollars in loyalty points that went unredeemed in 2011, hotels are focused on reaching low threshold members, with relevant rewards.

IHG is offering the rewards, developed by the first club™, a provider of digital rewards, to its 65 million Priority Club members. With as few as 300 points, members can download music; 800 points earns popular games themed in sports, action and adventure, magazines and puzzles, and once more than 1,200 points have been earned, software for the home office, foreign language education and multimedia tools are available.

“Our primary goal is to engage light users and new members who have not built up point balances and who don’t realize the value yet,” Don Berg, vice president, loyalty program, IHG, said. “Instead of waiting for three or four more stays, they can redeem quickly and be more engaged early on. They will realize this thing has value and continue to seek out our hotels. There’s a stickiness to the rewards program when you can get people to experience what the value proposition is, which is of course, redeeming points. If you can get your members to be engaged with what your product is they will naturally give you more business.”

IHG, which surveys its loyalty members on a regular basis, used surveys to determine what members liked or didn’t like about the program, what they wanted and how it could be improved. Instant rewards came out of that research and the concept was then tested with about 300 members.

“We wanted to have a full understanding of how it would perform before we put it out in the marketplace,” he said. “We know through the surveys that these programs are influential and impact member behavior.”

An extensive network of electronic communications delivers messaging about the new digital rewards category, including email, e-newsletters, bloggers and the Priority Club website.

IHG does in the range of $200 million in redemption value per year.

“That’s a lot of value being redeemed by our members and a lot of interest in the program,” Berg said. “It doesn’t take long for members to find out about these things, because there’s a pretty strong viral component to these announcements.”

He said IHG was the first hotel chain to offer a loyal program in 1983 and that it still has 50,000 original members actively earning points.

“Loyalty is exploding in the marketplace because customers are price conscious,” he said. “If you can build a relationship with a customer, especially one that is less price sensitive, you can avoid discounting and move yourself ahead of the competition.

Research by Colloquy has shown that 32% of respondents said the recession has influenced their participation in loyalty programs. IHG hopes instant rewards will encourage more frequent participation.

“The whole idea is to keep people engaged everyday,” Jill Goldworn, president and co-founder of the first club™, said.

Original Document from Chief Marketer.

the first club™ and IHG Partner to Offer Priority Club Digital Rewards Program

priority club rewards

First-in-kind program introduces instant point redemption for Internet and mobile downloads

LOS ANGELES and ATLANTA, May 30, 2012 – Starting this month, IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group), which manages the world’s largest hotel loyalty program, Priority Club® Rewards, will offer its 65 million members worldwide yet another fast and flexible way to redeem Priority Club points. Digital Rewards™ from the first club™, a global provider of instant digital rewards, is designed to engage consumers with the latest in downloadable content including music, games, and software.

The first hotel loyalty program to offer comprehensive digital rewards, IHG illustrates the industry’s move toward relevant rewards that keep guests engaged, regardless of their point accumulation. According to a Mintel survey, members were motivated by loyalty programs that provided instant and easy to redeem opportunities.

“We are a hotel loyalty program with many firsts and the new Digital Rewards offering continues this tradition,” said Don Berg, vice president, loyalty programs and partnerships, IHG. “Our innovation and partnerships are driven by recognizing what our members value most, and making it available through Priority Club Rewards before other loyalty programs.”

The Digital Rewards program has been designed by the first club™ to be readily accessible and visible through priorityclub.com, particularly to members whose past point redemption preferences indicate a likely interest in the new offering.

“We’re very excited to have developed IHG’s digital rewards redemption offering. They have embraced digital rewards as a new phase in loyalty and customer engagement, and we’re ready to help expand their existing successful rewards program to a new level,” said Jill Goldworn, President and co-founder of the first club™.

Leisure travelers, particularly families, want value from their hotel loyalty programs. Digital Rewards is a flexible option to help those with low point accumulations find an alternative point redemption option. And, all members will benefit from the fact that the Digital Rewards offers have been easily integrated with Priority Club’s existing point redemption choices.  Through the first club™’s global licensing agreements, members will have access to the most current and largest library of digital content available on the reward program market.

Some examples of the new Digital Rewards point redemption offerings include:

  • Well known songs from popular artists across genres including pop, country, alternative rock, R&B, and oldies – starting at 300 points
  • Popular games such as sports, action/adventure and puzzles – available from 800 points
  • Software for your home office, foreign language education and multimedia tools are available – starting at just over 1,100 points

By providing millions of titles of branded digital content such as eBooks, games, music and software, the first club™ creates  relevant rewards by satisfying consumers’ desire to get a product when, where and how they want it. Furthermore, research by Colloquy¹ has shown that 32 percent of respondents said the recession has influenced their participation in rewards programs.

Visit IHG’s Digital Rewards Page to browse the full catalog of music, games and more. If you are not yet a Priority Club Rewards member, the program is always free to join by calling 1-888-211-9874 or downloading our mobile app.  Start experiencing great benefits like No Point Expiration and No Blackout Dates for booking Reward Night stays, when you earn through easy, unique ways such as the Priority Club® Select VISA card.

the first club™ Expands Global Footprint and Digital Rewards Offering With New Partnerships in Russia, Mexico and Brazil

the first club™ Expands Digital Rewards Offering to Brands Through New Partnership Offices with Russia-based LMC Group, Mexico-based Digital Loyalty Rewards, and a Brazil-based partnership between Souza Aranha Marketing and Fernando L G Guimarães Publicidade 

Los Angeles, CA – 26, January 2012the first club™ (TFC), a global leader in digital rewards and loyalty solutions has announced a new partnership with three new local offices as part of the Company’s global growth strategy.  The first is Moscow-based licensing and promotions agency, LMC Group and this partnership will bring the first club™‘s digital rewards solution including its B2C site, to brands and loyalty programs in Russia while expanding the company’s presence further across Europe.

Based in Moscow, LMC Group was founded in 2004 by veterans of the loyalty marketing space and retail business industries. Fully aware of the continuing shift toward digital rewards and the mobile platform, the company offers licensing, promotional and loyalty solutions, and is the perfect partner for the first club™‘s digital rewards platform and licensing programs.

LMC Group will also represent the other services of the first club™ including licensing services, digital sales promotion campaigns, theatrical partnerships, and viral marketing campaigns.

Vladislav Us, founder of LMC Group adds: “The current economic climate demands inventive, cost effective promotions and rewards tools for businesses to draw, retain and reward customers. We want to deliver these solutions including the first club™ to Russia with the same effectiveness and creativity that the company has already brought to the European and U.S. markets.”

The Russian agency will be an especially powerful asset known as a thought leader in the loyalty sector, will aid in the  expansion ofthe first club™ in Europe while benefiting international travelers from the first club™‘s other competitive submarkets in the UK, Mexico, Continental Europe and Turkey. 

Mexico City-based Digital Loyalty Rewards was founded by veterans of the marketing and Mexican retail business industries. Taking advantage of the continuing shift toward digital rewards and the mobile platform, the company offers licensing, promotional and loyalty solutions, and is a perfect match to the first club™‘s related core services.

Digital Loyalty Rewards will also represent the other services of the first club™ including licensing services, digital sales promotion campaigns, theatrical partnerships, viral marketing campaigns and many more.

Daniel Suarez, founder of ­­­Digital Loyalty Rewards adds: “The current economic climate demands inventive, cost effective promotions and rewards tools for businesses to draw, retain and reward customers. We want to deliver these solutions including The first club™ to Mexico with the same effectiveness and creativity that TFC have brought to the European and U.S. markets.”

And our third partner office is Sao-Paulo based partnership between Souza Aranha Marketing, a consultancy firm, and Fernando L G Guimarães, a relationship marketing expert and author (Os Pilares do Relacionamento translated,”the Pillars of Relationship”), with a solid reputation throughout Brazil. Mr. Guimarães helped create and manage the Smiles Program, from Varig, currently Gol, a leading Brazilian airline, and experience managing loyalty programs with several manufacturing and FMCG companies, and serves as a board member of Abemd, Associação Brasileira de Marketing Direto (Brazilian Direct Marketing Association). Souza Aranha (www.souza-aranha.com.br) is a consultancy firm specialized in CRM representing in Brazil companies such as Salesforce.com, Miller Heiman and Direxions. Mr. Eduardo Souza Aranha, head of the consultancy firm, was also part of the team that structured the Smiles Program and is a board member of Abemd, as well. The result of this combined partnership will no doubt strengthen the first club™‘s relationships in Latin America.

Denis Huré, Co-founder and CEO of the first club™, believes these partnerships will bring tremendous value to all of the companies’ clients. “Their experience, knowledge and strong relationships with brand partners within their respective markets will be a tremendous benefit in expanding our loyalty and rewards solution across the world, and comes at a critical time when loyalty programs are looking to differentiate themselves.”

One of the biggest shifts taking place in the loyalty world today is the digitization of rewards and loyalty programs, as evidenced by a report released by the company earlier this year called Loyalty: Looking Forward.  Both the first club™ and ­­­­­­­Digital Loyalty Rewards believe that 2012 will see downloadable digital content increasingly being used by companies to promote brand loyalty and to incentivize customers to instantly redeem their rewards from any device, and any time.

the first club™ has developed a unique portal where consumers can access the very latest in digital content including over 60 million choices in apps, mp3s, PC games, mobile content, eBooks and Audio Books, and shortly movies, in return for redeeming rewards instantly.  The portal has been specifically designed to enhance loyalty reward programs, corporate incentives and sales promotions giving unique access to the entertainment world on a global scale.

Red Letter Days Launches the first club™ Digital Rewards Solution for Members

red letter days lifestyle with the first club

LONDON, June 3, 2011 – Starting this week, in partnership with the first club™, experiences specialist Red Letter Days will be offering its customers digital rewards.  the first club™ is a global provider of instant digital rewards, designed to engage consumers with millions of options of the latest in downloadable content including music, games, mobile apps, eBooks, and software offered instantly worldwide.

“We’re very excited to be expanding Red Letter Days’ offering to include digital rewards. They have embraced digital rewards as a new phase in customer engagement, and we’re ready to help enhance their programme of voucher options with additional redemption possibilities,”  said Denis Huré, CEO and co-founder of the first club™.

Relevant Rewards for today’s Digitized Consumers

In a report called Loyalty Looking Forward released earlier this year, the first club™ found that 48% percent of customers spend more with a company that offers products relevant to them.  A “relevant reward” is a product available at a time and place of the customer’s choosing, one that the customer intends to buy anyway—a current “want.” In other words: Time, Place, and Demand.  By providing millions of titles of branded digital content such as eBooks, games, music and software, the first club™ satisfies all relevant reward logistics.

Digital rewards offer Red Letter Days a flexible reward alternative to integrate into its existing offering.  Because there is no “physical” requirement, the first club™’s digital rewards can be instantly implemented into existing programme elements; adjusted to reach new targets; and measured using any existing CRM process.

According to Andy Ling, Head of Product Development at Red Letter Days, “That’s one of the most important factors about the first club™’s digital rewards. Their program is easy to implement into our existing programme, giving us a flexible cost-effective solution. Add to that, the concepts of relevancy, straight-forwardness, and attainability, and digital rewards promise to keep customers coming back to Red Letter Days.”

the first club™ currently provides the latest in digital content to brands all over the world, and its licensing agreements with music companies, publishers and game developers means that Red Letter Days members will have access to the most current and largest library of digital content that is available in the reward programme market.

To learn more about the digital rewards programme being implemented by Red Letter Days, or to speak with Denis Huré, CEO and co-founder of the first club™, please email denis@thefirstclub.com or for press inquiries, please contact Vanessa Horwell at Vanessa@thinkinkpr.com.

Case Study: Digital Rewards for Loyal Tech Customers

Sapphire Technology added digital rewards, in the form of ClubCoins vouchers, to its loyalty program in order to acquire new members.

Challenge: Acquire loyalty club members.
 Add a layer of non-proprietary online rewards to facilitate instant redemptions.
 Since complementary program implementation, 25 percent of the instant online rewards redemptions have been from new members.It may seem intuitive that Sapphire Technology, a manufacturer and supplier of graphics cards and mainboards, would offer its loyalty club members digital rewards. After all, it has a severe-looking, cross-armed female avatar staring down anyone daring to visit the rewards page. But it did take Sapphire a few months to offer that aspect of instant gratification to its Sapphire Select Club (SSC) members.

The Hong Kong-based company with a Canadian office in Markham, Ont., launched its loyalty club in October 2009 by offering members exclusive product information, access to events and contest prizes ranging from Honda scooters to iPads. But by summer 2010, the company decided it was time to offer Sapphire’s tech-savvy customers instant online rewards, says Adrian Thompson , Sapphire’s vice president of marketing and loyalty.

In June 2010, Sapphire tapped Santa Ynez, Calif.-based online instant rewards and incentive service the first club™ to offer loyalty club members digital prizes.

SSC members who purchase products from Sapphire are eligible for online currency that can be redeemed for downloadable music, games, software, mobile applications, audio books and eBooks. Movies may also soon be available.

Thompson says Sapphire placed online advertisements and sent emails to its loyalty club members to alert them to the new rewards. Information also appeared on the website, in newsletters and on social networks.

These new rewards also meant adding a membership tier. SSC Silver membership provided the old rewards. SSC Gold membership added in the digital rewards, as long as Gold members completed a form requesting their graphics card serial numbers in addition to the data the overall membership form requests—name, email address, and more specific information such as birth date, gender, areas of interest, product interest and opt-in possibilities for Sapphire’s email list and “screened third party” marketing.

Depending on the purchase, Gold members receive vouchers for 25, 50 or 100 “ClubCoins,” which they can redeem for digital rewards, Thompson says. Since including the digital prizes in the SSC, Sapphire’s run six separate rewards campaigns.

Original Document from Target Marketing Mag.

Building loyalty in the mobile era

by ICLP Loyalty

The world is arguably undergoing one of the greatest media transformations in history. While the internet has been an evolutionary and revolutionary step, thanks largely to Apple, the mobile device has turned into a personal computer in the consumer’s pocket – and one which is always available and always turned on – offering marketers a whole new gateway to new and stronger customer relationships, according to Garret Ippolito of MasterCard.

We live a mobile lifestyle. This lifestyle has been fueled by the near ubiquitous penetration of messaging devices. You can’t escape it. Video screens are talking to you in the elevator, when pumping petrol or riding in a city taxi. How we consume media has fundamentally changed. Marketers have been treading slowly into the mobile pool. But we are at a point where it is critical to engage customers via the mobile device, creating whole new ways to experience your loyalty programme and enhance its value.

The number of global mobile subscribers is now at least double the number of global internet users and, as mobile internet usage penetration increases, these figures are starting to converge. In Western Europe and North America, the market has already hit a 3G penetration inflection point (3G being the technology backbone upon which smart phones operate). As such, the mobile era has truly arrived. The key question, then, becomes whether or not marketers can risk others solidifying customer relationships, or should they do it themselves?

World demographics are also rapidly changing. In East Asia, up to 60% of some country’s populations are under the age of 30. In the US, the second fastest growing age segment is under 35. Much of the online usage changes we are witnessing are being driven by the younger generation (for example, Twitter, Hulu, Shop Savvy, and FourSquare). This demographic is also the most mobile savvy. On Facebook alone, there are more than 65 million active mobile users (incredibly, 1 million users commented on their friends’ status changes via mobile handsets within the first 24 hours of this feature’s launch). This is a testament to the power of the mobile channel. But no one in the loyalty arena has yet locked in their relationship with this up-and-coming, mobile-savvy demographic. This is clearly an opportunity for loyalty practitioners.

So, in venturing into the mobile realm, it is critical not to have your mobile strategy dictated by the technology itself. Many mobile strategies go astray as companies do not fully understand how their customers use their mobile devices, instead adopting tactics merely because they want to be first, because their competitors are active in the space, or because it is seen as being ‘trendy’. Rather choose a strategy and tactics that support your business goal of solidifying customer relationships.

Original document from Ulta Marketing.